Among the side effects of executive stress are skin and hair related problems. "Erratic schedules, prolonged exposure to air conditioning and an imbalanced diet with frequent intake of tea or coffee wreak havoc on body clocks and make executives susceptible to skin and hair infections," says Dr Rajendra Kharkar, dermatologist at Mumbai's Suchak Hospital, who treats hundreds of patients with these problems every month. A majority of them are 20-something employees of call centres/BPOs of JP Morgan Chase, Intelenet and IBM Daksh, all three of which have large offices close by.
Adds Dr Bindu Dewan, dermatologist at Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital: "Air conditioning at the workplace causes loss of moisture. I get a lot of patients who complain of dry and itchy skin. It is important to humidify the air and install proper humidity control systems." But few offices have so far done that.
"Stress can aggravate any preexisting problem and lead to hyper pigmentation and spots," she adds. "Using makeup to cover these up could worsen the problem, leading to acne breakouts."
She recommends a high protein diet to combat skin and hair damage. "All soya products, milk and pulses are rich in proteins and are essential for healthy skin and hair," she says. She also recommends herbal teas instead of coffee. "Herbal teas like green tea are a ready mix of vitamins. They have anti-ageing properties and work well for your skin."
If following a balanced diet plan seems an uphill task for most executives, due to their irregular schedules, Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Satish Bhatia recommends vitamin supplements. "Lack of exposure to the sun and vitamins A and D deficiency can lead to skin damage and hair loss. Multivitamins with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids work well to moisturise your skin," he says.
Bhatia also recommends a daily dose of 5 mg of biotin, a vitamin supplement that produces keratin, a protein essential for hair growth and lustre. "Women could also opt for evening primrose oil, a supplement that helps to maintain hormonal balance, and keeps the skin healthy, rejuvenated and moisturised," he adds.
Follow these tips and bid adieu to bad skin and hair days.